Whether you're a creative mind looking to build a one-of-a-kind costume, or you're being forced to be one half of Bennifer, here's where to get the Halloween goods.
This year-round theater costume prop house is brimming with 50,000 ideas waiting to be tried on, and this year they're expecting period movies and fetishes to lead the pack. Grab one of the complete pirate get-ups, fit some gold caps on your pearly whites and with a bottle of run from your local liquor store you've become Jack Sparrow from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Become the "Lord of the Ring" by jumping into Frodo's knickers and securing a cloak with the Fellowship leaf pin. Or skip the good side altogether by sliding into a PVC bodysuit, grabbing a whip and finding a love slave.
American Science & Surplus
The myriad of industrial, educational and military supplies here is a do-it-yourselfer's dream. Roam the aisles for Halloween inspiration -- a cyborg out of metal scraps and flashing lights; a giant fly out of tubing, grating and iridescent paint; a mad scientist complete with lab coat and assorted beakers--your imagination is the limit. The staff has a competition to see who can design the most creative costume each year (think deranged puppeteer operating a marionette while he himself is hanging by strings, unaware he is also a marionette), so probe them for insight into the awesome geekdom of ideas.
Card & Party Giant
Want to walk in and walk out with a complete no-brainer package? Here you'll find the outfit, wig, makeup, hat, glasses -- the entire ensemble -- to turn yourself into "Matrix's" Neo and Trinity or "X-Men's" Wolverine and Storm. For the cartoon-crazed, the giant SpongeBob getup should appease, and for the "SNL" fans, make like luminaries Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri as Spartan cheerleaders.
If you couldn't tell by the name (it's a song from "Chicago") this place is old school. This 20-year-old family-oriented theater costume shop carries thousands of handmade rentals used in productions across the city. Generally, if you've seen if on a stage, they probably have it here. Look for classics like glamorama flappers, zoot-suited gangsters and corseted Renaissance ladies. Grab a few friends to do the whole Wizard of Oz cast -- the one with no funds has to be Toto.
A Halloween favorite that specializes in pop icons, this store is stocked with movie character costumes. Make like a pissed-off Bruce Banner and get green with "The Hulk" costume, complete with purple pants and sewn-in bulging muscles. Or go head-to-head with a friend as "Freddy vs. Jason" with a razor glove and red-and-green striped sweater for yourself and a machete and hockey mask for your new nemesis. Or if you're looking to complete a look, the place is full of accessories galore -- they'll even custom-style one of their 30,000 wigs.
Chicago Costume Co.
Bursting with about 10,000 costumes to buy and 5,000 to rent, if it exists this store probably has it. Couples looking for duo costumes will find salt and pepper, ketchup and mustard, plug and socket (guess who's which), and tequila bottle and flamenco dancer. Make your own untraditional couple by donning the Frida Kahlo costume, and complete this monobrow maven's look by having a man on one arm and a woman on the other all night. Or grab a long black pony-tailed wig and some knockoff designer glasses, put your man in a shaggy wig and a trucker's hat, and voila: You're Hollywood's hottest cradle-robbing couple, Ashton and Demi.
Around pumpkin time, this store turns into a drag queen's dream. Floor to ceiling with feather boas, hundreds of wigs, silicone boobs, dramatic theatrer makeup -- everything you need to become absolutely fabulous (literally, for you "Ab Fab" fans looking to become Patsy and Edina). Make like the Fab Five of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and head downstairs for vintage black Gucci suits, skinny ties and black shades for the show's "intro" look. Grab another suit for the world's most annoying pimp daddy Ben Affleck, and put your J. Lo in a loooow-cut green dress, highlighted-to-hell wig, big floppy hat and booty-boosting padded undershorts. 3400 N. Halsted St. 773-281-6933.
Ah, the old pimp 'n' ho will never die, and for those intent on keeping it alive, this is your loud-leisure-suit-and-itty-bitty-miniskirt mecca. Full of '70s-style garb, you'll never want for an afro wig here. Plenty of nostalgic looks for the "Gilligan's Island" crew, "The Brady Bunch" and the classy '60s look -- find a pink suit, white gloves, a pillbox hat and you're Jackie O. Go for completely offensive and put your man in one of the vintage suits as JFK, but covered in theater-makeup-assisted "brain." And while we're on the subject of poor taste, Flashy Trash has the look for Joan Crawford from "Mommy Dearest," and you could certainly drum up some wire hangers to accompany your red-welt-covered, blond wig-wearing accomplice.
Heather Shouse is a metromix special contributor.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times